Looking for information through hundreds of Excel spreadsheets is a daunting task. Your CEO asked for you to pull up a report on why sales are down in the 4th quarter and you find yourself shuffling through anything you can find that makes sense. According to a 1975 report in Businessweek, paper was predicted to be dead by 1990. They were way wrong! Just like Back to the Future was wrong about their predictions for the 2015 fashion statements and real technology advances with hoverboards.
Fast forwarding back to 2017, dashboards and drilldowns are your solution to getting the information you need. Plus, if your CEO wants to dig down even deeper into the numbers, you can show him the information on a fly as opposed to grabbing the Red Bull for another long night of report research.
Get Down to the Nitty Gritty
Hopefully you’ve created a dashboard that has all of the information you need right at your fingertips. The graphs, the stats, and everything your heart (or your CEO’s heart) desires is on the main screen. But what if you want to find out which one of your representatives contributed to most of the sales in the 4th quarter. With sophisticated dashboard platforms, you can check out the graph that represents the sales, click on that chart, and look for the information showing each representative’s sales to find who sold the most (or even the least) in the last quarter.
Dashboards give you the ability to see information from a Mount Fuji level; yet, have the potential to drilldown to an ant-like level. You can drill however far down you need to find the information driving your numbers. The dynamically filter data based on user interaction with the chart, resulting in higher adoption rates and overall successful dashboard implementations.
During one of our consultant’s trips, he was able to create a new way of drilling down through a client’s hierarchy of data using the “Change Dashboard Parameters” drilldown. Using drilldowns, filters and custom parameters, you can see your data through a different perspective. iDashboards’ software gives you the ability to change what you are searching for through filters and drilldowns–and believe it or not it’s actually easier than tying your shoe! If you already have iDashboards or are trialing it for free, you can get detailed instructions on how to create a drilldown in Jerry Stowe’s blog, Getting Down to the Nitty Gritty.
According to The Paperless Project, average employees spend roughly 20% of their time searching for hard copies of documents. That time could be utilized for something else like calling another potential customer or brainstorming on your next project. In fact, in 2016, humans created more than half a billion tons of paper, and U.S. offices used more than 12.1 trillion sheets of paper a year! It’s amazing that we go through tons and tons of information just to find one piece of data that could help “create a more productive environment” or determine why your sales have increased in the last quarter. The time wasted searching could be better served if you automated your data reporting.
Using the drilldown feature on your dashboard, you can get down-to-the-minute information within a few clicks. With the ever-growing expectation of instant insights, there’s no time for business users to sift through pages of data. Instead, they need quick answers that will improve their decision-making process.
Using dashboards, all of your company’s data can go into one place and anyone can take a look at a chart and drilldown to the information they need, and it won’t differ from the person sitting next to them. Another significant part of a dashboard is the ability to collect and report data as well as reduce human errors with automation. This also eliminates second guessing and having to go back to your reports to see why your final report differed from your coworker’s.
Automating your reporting and becoming paperless is more of a possibility today than it was in the 90s. Don’t be afraid to ditch your papers (or we prefer, recycle) and change the way your reporting. Simply put, drilldowns ROCK! They’re intuitive and they create an opportunity for greater efficiency and productivity. There are many more features within a dashboard that you can utilize to advance your reporting. If you want to learn more, check out our guide, Everything You Need to Know about Dashboards.
Get the Guide Fundamental Design Principles for Dashboards
Even if you’re not the artistic type, this guide will have you thinking like a graphic designer and making informed choices that support your data narrative.